Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Ways to generate income when you're at home without pay?
386 points by throwawayt856 on May 21, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 287 comments
One of my friends was working in call center. Now due to stay at home orders, he's been asked to stay home without any pay.

Please suggest some ways to generate income.

There is shortage of 3D printing filament because of virus, so I've been creating filament and selling it.


This activity also help recycle waste plastic.

Production cost of filament is $7.5 per 5kg and filament roll has 850 gram filament and can be sold for $20-30 per spool

It's trivial to get the quality right.

You can sell rolls on Amazon, eBay and Etsy or your own Shopify store and use Facebook ads/Google Ads to advertise your website.

> It's trivial to get the quality right.

Is it really? I've looked into this a good bit myself and it seems that many who have tried this have trouble keeping the diameter consistent.

I suspect that if it really was trivial, then you'd think just about any commercial supplier could get it right, there's a lot of junk filament out there. Maybe you are just very good at it; +-0.02 is pretty good even by commercial standards. The entire first page of Amazon best sellers are +-0.03 or +-0.05.

>Is it really? I've looked into this a good bit myself and it seems that many who have tried this have trouble keeping the diameter consistent.

If you'll check my medium post, I've linked a video where I am extruding filament.

Problem with those hobbyist machines is motor torque/power rating. And second, they don't use a special screw and barrel.

The motor used in professional extruders used in real filament factories starts at 5 horsepower for the smallest machine.

If you miss those two things, there is no way you'll get within 0.03mm

Without any PID feedback loop, I can get within 0.03 by setting puller speed manually.

>I suspect that if it really was trivial, then you'd think just about any commercial supplier could get it right

There is no reason to believe that junk filament is coming from people with good machine design. That could be coming from hobbyist underpowered extruder machines like filaestruder and likes.

>Maybe you are just very good at it; +-0.02 is pretty good even by commercial standards. The entire first page of Amazon best sellers are +-0.03 or +-0.05.

At higher extrusion speed you'll get more output per extruder machine time but you'll have lower filament dimensional stability.

So the trivial part is have a powerful motor, use a good screw+barrel and don't extrude too fast.

That said I've offered my telegram in medium post and YouTube video. So anyone who gets stuck can reach out to me. I am not leaving them hanging on their own.

Also, I am looking to make a microcontroller firmware for extruders which basically measures the filament then sets the puller roller speed based on thickness measured. It pulls filament faster if it's thicker than target and pulls filament slower if filament is coming out to be thinner than expected. This will help us reach 0.0020mm accuracy easily!

The problem I am facing is:

1. I am not good with micro controller and control algorithms

2. Laser guage which measure the filament without distorting it is expensive and starts at 2K USD.

So anyone who can help solve these technical challenges are welcome.

But you might not need this much dimensionally accurate filament. Selling within 0.03mm is easy.

Anything better not sure how much it will help FDM quality but yes microcontroller firmware approach will help get more output out of this machine as biggest problem with extruding too fast is that dimensional stability goes haywire.

I can help you with the microcontroller and control algorithm side. It’s what I do. If you’re a software developer you can do it yourself with a small amount of guidance from someone like me. Email is my username plus 79 at gmail if you want to set up a quick discussion.

Hey @econcon, I think my friend and I will give this a try. We're starting to spec everything out, and probably want to start out with laser gauge to have high accuracy. Would love to ask a couple questions if you have time, my email is just my username at gmail.com

Instead of a laser gauge, you could try using a camera hooked up with some edge detection software and use that to estimate the width. It probably wouldn't be as accurate, but it would definitely be cheaper.

You'd be looking at very subtle variations in the color of single pixels, so you might as well just use a single optical sensor and light source into a single high res adc, using intensity to measure thickness.

At some point dust in the air will be a limiting factor.

For high accuracy, the brightness is really more the limiting factor, as most of the edge finding/binarization algorithms use a intensity factor for cutoff. I used camera measurement for small pieces of tissue samples in biomechanical measurement (~1mm x 5mm). We had a small window in our lab, and cloudy days would distort measurements. I solved it mostly by going to a SLDR camera from a handheld and a backdrop with a type of luminance chart. Much more accurate than calipers for soft squishy (and wet) samples. See [1] Figure 2E (pg 22), you can average out small variations pretty readily.

1: https://pdf.sciencedirectassets.com/274145/1-s2.0-S175161611...

Though your idea of a light source and adc could work well if you put it in a darkened enclosure. It’d probably require a bit more hardware design or tuning but the software / microcontroller side would b simpler. A RPi PiCam with a macro lens would work well too, but the reverse with less hardware tweaking and more software.

You'd make the filament go slightly diagonally across the field of view of the camera, and then you'd have thousands of part-filled pixels.

As long as your material is consistent (no bubbles, shiny spots, etc.), You should be able to build a very accurate sensor this way.

I found this video https://youtu.be/kpsN78mQ6YY

They use a laser pointer to measure width of a hair.

In 2 weeks time:

There is a shortage of Extruders because of the people making 3D printing filament at home. So I've been creating Extruders and selling them.


You're all good until somebody starts selling a pre-packaged Extruder factory.

There are companies who sell packaged extruder:


The 13k listed machine produces 2kg per hour.

Extruder are heavy and low demand item, even cost of shipping will double the price of the machine which I've made.

Thanks for the link. Where are you selling your finished product?

Amazon for now

I don’t think someone working at a call center has the technical aptitude and financial resources to source and build there own extrusion machine.

Lots of technically gifted people working dead-end jobs, due to things like location, family situation, lack of formal education, personal issues, or whatever :-)


As the saying goes "talent is evenly distributed; opportunity is not."

I've known lots of very smart people working what would be considered dead-end, or at least, lower-end jobs.

Yes, I know a lot of people who don't have opportunity or have some sort of mental roadblock that makes them not put efforts into area which can potentially produce result. I am not sure if there is some name of this phenomenon.

But usually they need a visionary who can make them believe in the idea and then they can put their work/efforts/mind into it with confidence and they do end up achieving the result at the end.

Hard times can make hard people. You don't know what someone is capable of until they're backed against a wall. I was a computer repair man until my parent's divorce and the 2008 market collapse which forced me into a CS degree.

Computer repair -> computer science.

Call center -> building machines from scratch based on a medium post.

Sure it’s possible but I don’t think the suggestion really makes sense. You can be blind to the fact that hn is in the 1% of intellect/ability, but it should be obvious that effectively no one can honestly take that suggestion. Unemployed, low on cash, and then in a low-skill industry it doesn’t make sense to risk $500 to $1000 on a project that you likely won’t be able to build.

BS. For most of human history there was no manufacturing, people made stuff by hand. Every human is Capable of learning and making this machine. And it’s awesome that people are trying to teach others.

Yea but OP is trying to help his friend and I am pretty sure they've some friend who might have experience working with mechanical things, maybe they know a mechanical engineer and JV, produce output and turn it into a mini factory, we never know!

I definitely get it from the capital perspective. I just want you to give underemployed a fair shake before making a judgement.

I'm pretty sure the people down-voting you to Hell don't know a single working-class person working a dead-end job for peanuts.

Have you worked at a call center?

In a past life I worked at a place where my manager & IT guy were originally call center workers. The manager was a crafty guy, does nice woodwork. My ex happened to also work at that call center & is now an illustrator. Another friend from that place eventually went to college to be a machinist

It's almost like some people don't attach their identity to their job, and make an income to pursue their interests in other hours.

Indeed. I've always hated that question "what do you do" (meaning your job) and usually answer it with "about what?"

I understand it's a pretty straightforward way to look for common ground and introductory topic of conversation, but there's a massive implication which I consider socially corrosive.

What is the implication and why is it socially corrosive?

The implication is that one's worth comes from one's job, with the corollary that one's role in society is that of "worker" and "consumer", or if not simply just "consumer" then worthless.

It is socially corrosive because it is removes any concept of social relationship from the calculus of social worth.

And you see this in the discussion of "opening up the economy" as though that is the #1 parameter of existence. Certainly without a functioning economy there is no food or other basic needs, but the objectives are complex functions, not simplistic ones. The implication is that those who were not lucky enough to have a job that generates income during a time of pandemic must needs put themselves at risk while others need not. Disgraceful.

It's the same reason I cringe when people talk or write about "consuming content", as if "content" is fungible and that peoples' roles are to "consume" it -- when information is not "consumed" (destroyed) by being enjoyed.

> It is socially corrosive because it is removes any concept of social relationship from the calculus of social worth.

I don't see how that follows from "What do you do?" because one could answer:

A) I volunteer at... B) I take care of... C) I love... D) etc.

The implication is that you define someone purely by their career. It's socially corrosive because we end up with people valuing themselves based on their vocation, & consequently we judge a man's worth on the salary he brings home

I used to work in a call center and now work as an EE with a masters degree.

I work for a call centre of sorts.You wouldn't believe the kind of skills people have.

Technical aptitude is probably not significantly required, as a guide exists, forums exist, and shop employees exist -- you should be very far away from "starting from scratch". The main risk in low-knowledge is that you're liklier to fail at finding "cheap but good condition", instead obtaining "cheap and breaks in a few months"

Cost is the bigger concern, but at 600-700 $, it's hardly mind-numbing.

Reminds me of the people who think if you have C# experience you can't handle other programming languages. Amazing how having a skill can be seen as a negative! Yes on average people who can do X can't do Y might apply, but in this situation and the interview one too, you are talking about a specific person not an average.

People are a lot more capable than you think. There's a pretty vast oversupply of talent and not enough jobs to fill them. As a result, you have people who are capable of becoming so much more ending up in menial, low end jobs.

Crisis is the mother of invention and motivation. This thread is awesome because it’s the sharing of knowledge that will give people opportunities. Even if they don’t currently have the ability it’s amazing to teach each other.

There are some truly awful suggestions here. The question isnt about changing his life by learning to code or setting up a plastics machine (which is pretty cool but takes investment) or starting an affiliate site and then generating traffic, it's about generating income during a global pandemic.

1. Fiverr 2. Mechanical Turk 3. Craigslist Gigs 4. UpWork

Can generate $50 by dinner time if you're willing to focus and put in the time.

From experience on Upwork, that platform is a big dumpster fire that should be avoided at all costs. Any task will immediately get spammed with lowball offers by monkeys which means it's impossible to actually earn realistic prices. The clients are non-technical for the most part so they will not see the red flags and will go with the lowball offers anyway, with predictable results. The rating system has been gamed to death so everyone is 5 stars regardless of their actual skills. Submitting proposals properly takes a lot of time and isn't worth it when you know the client is more likely to go with the lowest bidder. You're better off getting a low-wage job in a supermarket or sandwich shop.

Just as a contrasting datapoint, I use Upwork a lot as a client, and I've found a lot of good contractors on there. I agree with you that the platform itself is terrible and seems to succeed in spite of itself, but it's worked well enough for my needs.

I've hired cartoonists[0], editors[1], writers[2], accountants, and developers. I had the worst luck with developers because, as you say, the ratings are meaningless. They have the lemon problem[3] that good developers won't really work for $15/hr, but there are also bad developers who charge $125/hr. But to evaluate whether a developer is good or bad, you generally have to invest 10-15 hours with them. So a string of expensive bad matches can cost you $5-10k in trial hires just to find a decent developer. I think other tasks are easier to hire for because costs are lower and the outputs are more easily inspectable.

[0] https://mtlynch.io/how-to-hire-a-cartoonist/

[1] https://mtlynch.io/editor/

[2] https://mtlynch.io/hiring-content-writers/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Market_for_Lemons

It's probably good for hiring, but awful for freelancing.

They still have $1k of my money (well money I earned through a client) because they banned my account without explanation!

I haven't used them in years, maybe they have gotten better.

That brings up a question: What can you do to earn $50 in 24 hours?

Unless you already have mturk the waiting period is days to weeks if you're not rejected. Fiverr/Upwork would all require a large amount of luck to make $50 in one day as communication with client and turn-around time could take 12-24 hours before even starting a small one hour project. CL might be the best way to make that money in that time period doing a miscellaneous yard service or delivery or whatever. I'm curious though if there are other avenues to make $50 in one day.

I have had to make $100 in a couple hours with almost no avenue to do so. Here are the 2 different things I did multiple times each that show it IS possible to make money using just your creativity.

1. Went to Goodwill store (second hand store for those that dont know it.) Took pictures of the office furniture available. Posted to CL in my city at a price $10 to $20 more than it cost to buy. Subject line: "Price reduced by 30%". Stood in the store adding more items and watched my inbox for replies. This paid approx $20 an hour. I did this at least half a dozen times when my first child was born and we were on the verge of starving.

2. Called everyone I knew with a business and offered to build a website or facebook page or Twitter profile or Yelp page for $x, half paid up front. We HN folks overestimate how technical people are. 100 bucks to "be on social media" is cheap.

> when my first child was born and we were on the verge of starving

Damn, that sounds horrible.

> Subject line: "Price reduced by 30%".

It sounds like a part of sales is about lying to people then? Or obscuring relationships/sources?

Obscuring sourced and information has always been part of sales. Amazon obscures its sources. So does walmart. So does McDonalds. Literally everything on earth would be less expensive if the customer could buy directly from the manufacturer or source. But distributors exist to create efficiency and scale which benefits both buyer and seller.

If you own a pickup truck, put a junk hauling ad on Craigslist. Charge $50 + dump fees. You will have to err on the side of caution here, as dump fees are determined by weight.

People Ready (aka Labor Ready). Be there early before they open, and if you're lucky (because I'm sure they're swamped these days) you'll get a full day's work. You get paid that evening.

I've always been pretty nomadic, and one trick I was taught long ago when you need cash in a hurry is to go stand outside a self-storage facility and look for people that need help moving. I was able to make $50-$150 a day when times were tight.

I bring this up because people actually do call day labor companies for this all the time.

A trick I learned back in 2009 was that if you bring a drill, or even a screwdriver, you can get assigned to much nicer jobs (never worked for Labor Ready, but worked for very similar companies during the 2008 recession).

Is it really possible to generate $50/day on mturk? What kind of tasks would pay that much?

A friend of mine claims his HITs (identifying/verifying if a tv show switches to a commercial in a 30 second video) pay about $12/hr for anyone who doesn't get banned for low quality answers.

I've seen that there are a number of tools (usually like browser extensions) which allow you to filter and sort HIT offers for the best use of your time.

12 hours of aggressive work might get you there.

Language learning tutoring. You can be a "community tutor" no diploma required on platforms like iTalki, Verbling, etc.

I think it's disingenuous to suggest that you can setup an account on these sites and have $50 by the end of the day "if you are willing to focus". With the exception of Mechanical Turk, which pays pennies, the others require you have a skill that people are willing to pay for.

I think the competition is nuts too, when I've been on the other side(hiring) it's overwhelming how many people you get to respond/hard to tell if the person is competent/trustworthy(with regard to allowing access to your tech to work on it). Starting from 0 is really hard(people with former work look more trustworthy).

Excellent point. This is the modern version of the oft ridiculed Boomer idea to "just go door to door until you get a job like I did back in 1967".

I've got a feeling that it'd probably be even easier nowadays. I remember when I came to London about 10 years ago: no money,no connections, nothing.Went online to check some jobs just to see some ads with 200+ applications.. Printed my crappy CV,a list of a few agencies and started going from one to another. Managed to get a job 4 hours later..

You're surely right. In a world with 20% unemployment you'd probably get a job in 27 seconds, and if you don't you are just lazy right!!?? Was your reply sarcasm?

There was no sarcasm. All I meant was that sometimes knocking on a few doors could yield better results than just sending CVs around. I did quickly find a job 10 years ago but it doesn't mean that in current situation it'd be the same.

I guess it depends what you're looking for. Before I was in this industry the "quickest" job to get into was washing plates at some restaurant... have to go through all the hiring bs but that's a high turnover/low skill job.

edit: hiring bs as in these philosophical quizes of how many people would you kill, one or several, etc... like man I'm just here to wash plates.

While a good idea in general, I don't know how many doors would open up right now after knocking. Coronacrisis and social distancing make this approach harder than ever, most offices are working remotely, and most service industry places are closed.

> when I came to London about 10 years ago

Surely not London, Ontario. Wouldn't work in any city on any time.

OP didn't really help by not sharing any details about his friend. It's friendly to assume that some skills might be monetized on these platforms.

Start selling anything and everything that has any monetary value on platforms like: Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook marketplace, nextDoor, close5 (if they're still around), letgo, etc. I mean, literally, just go through every last item in your house. If you haven't used it in the last 3 months, what's the point of holding on to it?

It's labor intensive, but at when you're done, you'll have a much cleaner house and a little bit of money too. I do this on the weekends.

A friend used to have a great ebay sideline in reselling poorly listed items at a higher price.

He'd search for reasonably high value items that had been listed with spelling mistakes in the name so that they didn't show up in searches, or showed up too far down the results to be noticed. He'd then buy them and immediately on winning the auction, re-list the same item but without the spelling mistakes.

His secret trick was using a copy/paste of the text and images from the historically highest priced listing that had sold for that same item, which ebay made it easy to search for. By the time it arrived in the post, he'd already sold it on at a higher price to someone else. He just relabelled the packages, sent them on and pocketed the difference.

That's a great trick! Any idea how profitable this was?

I never asked for figures, but he kept doing it despite being in a reasonably well paid job as social media manager for a restaurant chain.

Which brings to mind another of his tricks: He set up a lunch voucher trading scheme for all of the other restaurants in the little downtown area where he was based. He got to eat anywhere he liked every lunch time.

One of his employment perks was getting a free lunch from his restaurant every day. He soon got bored of it, so he designed and printed some home made lunch vouchers with his name on, and arranged for the front of house staff to accept them in lieu of payment. The understanding was that there would be no more than one per day for the days he didn't eat there. Then he went to all of the other restaurants and told their front of house staff that they could swap their own free lunches for his by letting him eat there in exchange for his vouchers. They could then eat at his restaurant for free on one of the next few days.

That was 10 years ago and I've never since met anyone with a better hustle than that guy.

And if you have the time, look into parting it out for max value. Often the parts are worth more than the complete unit.

And we probably all have spare bubble envelopes and boxes from delivery services.

Plus you get to learn how it's assembled.

And people will pay more for parts from a 100% functional unit than a scrapped unit of unknown provenance.

While is isn't a continued source of cashflow, it IS the very first thing that anyone needing money quickly should look it. It's relatively easy and op mentioned, you can clean out the garage too!

This is a great time to sell any retro video game consoles and equipment -- the third party market prices for lots of old controllers and consoles and games jumped 25-100% in the last two months.

I just started working on a list of gigs/side hustles - you can see it here:


or here in a day or two:


Filter by skills, physical level, time to get paid, and things you have. It has some rough edges, but I'm fixing things and adding new listings every day.

Finding some of the data is difficult - many companies bury their commissions and fees and very few companies tell you what you'll earn. Most payouts take several days to reach you, but if it's your first ever payout, it may be an additional 1-2 weeks.

This is great!

File for unemployment. The federal government is increasing the weekly payment. Additionally, I believe this is not limited to California, unemployment compensation starts from day 1 rather than the second week.

Edit: Also unemployment compensation is being extended to job types which previously weren’t covered, like hairdressers and massage therapists. Having been told to stay home from work for Covid should be sufficient to at least get the federal compensation.

This should definitely be done, but a caveat against assuming this is a blanket solution: I have plenty of friends in the theater industry who mostly make money as non-employee contract/gig workers. But 2 of these friends also had some minimal part-time work last year where they made under $1000. Because they had a W-2 last year, they are disqualified from getting unemployment based on their contract work, even though their contract work represents 95% of their income. The amount of unemployment you get is based on the amount of money you made at your last job or over the last few quarters. Which means they’re getting almost nothing in unemployment benefits. To make matters worse, the website clearly just shoehorned in the corona-related changes and the application process is extremely confusing for someone in their situation. Even walking them through the process over screen share, as someone who has applied for unemployment benefits twice in the past, I couldn’t really figure out exactly how to answer some of the questions. So there are definitely people getting screwed on unemployment, even if it is working out well for the majority.

In California, independent contractors and gig workers are allowed to claim unemployment due to COVID, whether or not they were previously a W2 employee. (The same is not true in all states, including presumably the state of the commenter to which I replied.)

This brings up a good point about the complication of the unemployment application system.

Maybe "Unemployment application screenshare advisor" would be a good job for a lot of people right now.

Especially if they have experience with the edge cases.

This is a great idea, an independent covid-related gig that's totally compatible with call-center experience.

I will also add that some states are hiring unemployment office temps to handle the surge in applications, so it would be similar work, just more formal and no charge to the user (which would be the hard part of being independent).

This is the best route in my opinion. Upskill while collecting unemployment.

Completely agree. That's all I've been doing while furloughed and it's actually given me a lot of time to dive deep into things I didn't previously have the time for (AWS CSA Associate studying via Linux Academy and a Coursera Product Management course).

As long as your basic necessities are covered (food, shelter, etc.), this is a great way to go.

Whats your current career and how do you expect the cert and the coursera course to help?

Currently a PM (although furloughed unfortunately), so the Coursera course has helped me have greater breadth/understanding and so many more tools to bring back to the office if/when business picks up. If my role is cut, I'll jump into the PM job search more actively and have been preparing for that possibility too.

In my previous role I was a Software Engineer, and made some great contacts that have some DevOps consulting opportunities. I'd like to take on some of this work and the AWS CSA Associate cert will definitely help. I'm about halfway through Linux Academy training and it has already been invaluable for my overall systems architecture and design thinking.

If you have any other thoughts/advice/questions, happy to chat more! Contact info is in my bio

TLDR: Currently a furloughed PM (Coursera) and have some cloud consulting opportunities (AWS CSA Associate cert)

DoorDash, GrubHub, Uber Eats, and the like make pretty decent money. About $7 per order before tip and in a busy area you might be able to snag two or three orders going the same direction making the $/hr a little better.

It's basically the definition of not great money but it's not very difficult, not physically straining, and you don't have to interview or whatever for it.

Grocery stores in my area are also hiring constantly right now. I assume the demand will flatten eventually but for now they're just taking people on with zero fanfare. Again, not good money, the work is physically harder, and you'll have to take shifts but it's a job you can get in a few days.

I watch some YouTube channels of delivery people (usually on bikes) just out of curiosity.

Most of them do it only part-time and see it as a work-out gamification. Looks like during the pandemic many restaurants also closed delivery options and the orders dropped according to some YouTubers in the UK.

The most important aspect: It does not scale. It's very hard to earn a living outside of the "surge pricing" rush hours.

In some regions "surge pricing" is not available or delivery platforms require full time with a fixed but low salary (e.g. in Germany).

Here's a list of YouTubers doing bike deliveries:

- Chicago, IL (US) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4hE0AhisGkRscjxSMudn-Q/vid...

- London (UK) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCruD32HAzsb9UN4KpOcSxZg/vid...

- Los Angeles, CA (US) https://www.youtube.com/user/impulsivewilliam/videos

- Bristol (UK) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZOtaF2WKa0wNysH4ZRH8-w/vid...

I think the bike delivery labor market is super different from the delivery driver market. You are much more likely to find people "gamifying" it as bikers than as drivers.

Is it? According to the videos, they outperform delivery drivers bound to cars. Sure, with a car you can easily work in rain, cold, long distance deliveries. But usually it does not pay out to commit full time or to a specific, expensive vehicle.

If one does plan to deliver (bulky) non time-critical items, payment drops significantly (almost no tips, fixed fee for each parcel).

Are most uber eats drivers buying cars in order to drive uber? That was not my understanding.

For Uber 'transit' drivers, anecdotally people bought cars just for uber. My neighbor bought a Toyota Corolla as a 2nd car for Uber, and drove that car for uber and ride-sharing exclusively for 200K+ miles in Bay Area, 200+ miles/night for years. Exclusive use for ride-sharing simplified business expense tax deduction.

The vast majority almost certainly do not buy a car just for delivery-gig work, but they are still putting a lot of wear on their vehicles. It's still important to be conscious of those costs and they should be factored in, even if the the car was boughtfor some other reason.

They wear it down and they need to "make it up on volume" (they don't).

As I wrote earlier, payment is not linear. It depends on the region, day and time. One can make a lot of money in 1-2 hours on some evening, but also sit idle for another 8 hrs in a parked car waiting for another order. (to my knowledge, one has to be booked into the uber eats app all the time and broadcasting the current location. So one is encouraged to still hunt/stay next to interesting restaurants, usually big chain stores like Mc Donalds, Starbucks. IMHO it's not a plausible add-on business for regular Uber/taxi drivers or other gig economy jobs like harvesting electric scooters)

Let's say one can make 40$ in 1 hour but 50$ in 9 hours.

The one profitable hour is probably within the evening rush hour, lot of traffic, down-town, short distances. 0 parking lots.

The other 8 hours are past midnight, in the morning or between noon and evening. Longer distances (=>less drivers, less orders => bigger coverage => no surge pricing).

Overhead costs stay the same.

No, but they are reducing the useful life of their cars by using it more than "normal", which will lead to them buying another car normal than if they were not doing Uber.

IMO, there is a reason these delivery / driver services have extremely high turnover. While the hourly seems decent, you lose your ass in car maintenance, gas, and insurance. The wear and tear you put on a car driving around town all day doing short trips is quite high. That cost can often not show up for months, until it comes time for something like an early brake job. Then half your month's pay is just gone with a $1200 bill. I suppose that you can just put off that oil change and transmission service a bit longer in order to help pay for the brakes.

If you’re the hustling type, learn to do your own brake replacement. That’s usually under $200 in parts for pads and rotors for front or rear and it’s an easy 90-180 minute task requiring maybe a $100 tool kit and $50 in jack stands. I budget 60-90 minutes and rarely run over, but I have a fast pump jack and air tools though I did them for years with hand tools and the jack that came with the car.

Though it seems daunting to go work on your brakes, I think it’s actually one of the easiest and highest RoI jobs you can do on your car. Saving $1000 (tax-free) is like working an extra 2 weeks in half an afternoon. Then, consider if you could be doing the same for your friends for $500 (you buy the parts), so you win and they win.

(This could be a direct option for your call center friend of course.)

Offer not valid during COVID but I’ve offered people to come to my driveway and they change their brakes while I watch and guide as needed. It’s puzzling but I’ve seen only about 1/4 of people keep doing it after I show them how, how easy, and how fast it is.

None of those suggestions are compatible with "stay at home" for real.

I'm assuming we all understand that "stay at home" really means "don't go to your regular job, but essential services such as food delivery and grocery store assistant are allowed".

But quite a lot of people are being told to stay at home for real, or advised to, on grounds of health risk or risk to someone else in their household. That excludes all of those out-of-home jobs.

What can people in the latter group do for emergency money?

Tutoring via Skype. Many people are willing to pay for a private tutor to learn a language, guitar, graphics design, etc.

> it's not very difficult, not physically straining

eh ... I've never been a driver, but I kinda doubt this right now. A Chicago driver just ran over this women:


We don't know the full story as the video starts with her blocking his car. He shouldn't have run her over obviously. There's no excuse for that. But if he's operating on very small margins, he may have been frustrated they were moving slowly. He allegedly kicked their door, they wouldn't let him in, and then he was just going to dive off. They then blocked his car waiting for the police. The guy turned himself in, so if we give him the benefit of the doubt, it might have been stress rage. He's probably going to serve several months for assault.

People are on edge right now. A lot of companies are profiting and also screwing everyone over they can. You can be a delivery driver, but be aware it might be a very short term gain, and may not cover the cost of maintenance/operation of your vehicle in the long term.

Or, some people are just assholes. I find it very odd to read a comment here basically defending the driver - they were obviously going to call the police as soon as you started committing property damage to their store.

I'm not defending the driver. We also don't know what the 'property damage' was ... maybe he just kicked the door in frustration. He should go to jail, but the underlying thing I'm getting at is that EVERYONE IS ON EDGE.

This whole thing has made humanity more scared and dumb than anything. People are worried about their jobs, paying bills, etc. I don't think what this drive did was right, but there is a whole context being lost as to what led to this point.

This seems like the very definition of play stupid games, win stupid prizes... Obviously I have zero capability to make a morality judgement here. But I do know that the 2-ton hunk of metal with hundreds of horsepower and foot-pounds of torque is going to win that physical fight every day. Just take the damn license plate number, get out physically unscathed, and let the police do their job.

Have they considered teaching their skills online for money? If they worked in a call center, they probably know how to deal with some really hard things. I'd love to learn how they have patience when dealing with angry customers.

At http://joinstream.io, we're building a super easy way to host a monetized livestream using Zoom. We generate a marketing page for you, handle billing, attendee management, and notifications. All you have to do is focus on selling your unique skills.

You can also create courses on https://udemy.com and on https://youtube.com. A great way to identify good targets is explaining newly launched platforms and how they worked for you and what you learned. There's no guarantee that they'll make you a living wage immediately but they have a decent residual value.

Let's say, just hypothetically, that someone was burned out from working for ValleyBigCo Inc, has no need or desire to work full time+ and wanted to transition into teaching something to do with the creation of software - design, actual programming, whatever. What's the best path for this? Do your Udemy/YouTube suggestions still hold or is there something specific for this use case?

Those are great platforms if you have experience with video editing. This nice part about http://joinstream.io is the time commitment and barrier to entry is much lower to create live content.

This is cool! What tech/service are you using to handle accepting payments & paying out to event creators? To my knowledge you can't use stripe for things like this (though maybe I'm wrong)

We use Stripe (and Stripe Atlas). Stream is allowed with their ToS.

Can you it clear if you are U.S. only? The site doesn't say what countries you can pay out to, it would be helpful to be specific. I know w lot of Europeans who would be interested.

This is cool

Thank you!

1. Teach English by video to children overseas.

2. Get a remote call centre job.

3. The DoorDashes and Uber Eats of the world are doing tremendous business right now, as is Amazon (and they have the Flex delivery service). Instacart was also hiring some 300,000 people.

4. If your friend is the creative or innovative type, there are a ton of competitions being hosted by various companies. You enter enough and the income can be somewhat reliable. This is my own personal niche.

5. Freelance writing. Even with the downturn, there seems to be a decent number of businesses with blogs wanting guest articles.

> The DoorDashes and Uber Eats of the world are doing tremendous business right now, as is Amazon (and they have the Flex delivery service). Instacart was also hiring some 300,000 people.

If I needed cash in a hurry I'd probably do Instacart. I've browsed their subreddit - some shoppers are making $250-300 a day delivering groceries right now. If you can successfully cherry-pick those big Costco orders you'll typically get a $25-50 tip, in addition to delivery fees.

During this pandemic our household is ordering about $300-400 of Costco a week, since we're cooking everything at home, and tipping an Instacart delivery person $40-50 seems like a good tradeoff to avoid having to risk getting Covid-19 in a store.

Of course, the reason this is so high right now is that it is essentially hazard pay. You're putting yourself at risk of getting sick so others don't have to. Provided you are not high risk (<50 years old, no pre-existing health conditions) this might be an acceptable risk.

Any sites you'd recommend for connecting with students/parents overseas looking to learn English?

Isn't freelance writing a saturated market even at the best of times?

I have only done a bit of it in technology and innovation, so not sure beyond those categories.

Where do you go to look for freelance writers?

Teaching Chinese kids is a pretty huge market, I’m not sure which company to recommend tho.

What kind of competitions?

Ideation, graphic design with innovation, and engineering are the ones I do.

Check out Mindsumo.com, Eyeka.com and herox.com

Get rid of old stuff on ebay/cl/fb marketplace. Or buy stuff from ebay/cl/fb marketplace and sell on Amazon.

and plugging a friend: https://www.flipmine.com/ scrapes arbitrage opportunities b/w ebay and amazon.

Word of warning on Ebay tho, and this comes from someone who's been flipping stuff there for 20 years: There's a hold on your funds for around 21 days, depending on how fast the item is shipped out, and registered as delivered (hint: Always use tracked shipping)

Second, there's a limit on how much you can list / sell as a beginner. So don't count on being able to liquidate collections or extra stuff in a flash.

And third, Ebay is incredibly biased towards buyers - so if you're looking to sell something very expensive, try local first - where you can get cash in hand. I've lost thousands of dollars on Ebay as a seller, even though I've followed every step to secure myself.

But other than that - it's a very hard place to beat if you're looking to sell something. I'm selling on a TON of channels, but it's really hard to beat Ebay for actually getting stuff sold.

Also: Ebay takes 10%, paypal takes 4%. Shipping and tax aren't free either.

If you sell something expensive, ebay will usually give you a "5 listings with halved or waived final value fees" a few weeks later. Strategize accordingly.

Ebay does not offer 10% of value. Other than because they're basically a monopoly, I'm surprised no one's been able to undercut them.

Furthermore, that ebay 10% cut is not taken off the top, it's applied to a monthly invoice, so that's important to remember.

Interesting recommendation of flipmine.

I buy in to the idea of what they're selling - used goods arbitrage - they're just selling another form of a "get rich scheme". Follow the money.

If this niche were so great then the proprietors would keep this software platform to themselves to identify the opportunities and perform the work. Instead, they "offer" you the opportunity while they take in a $39 monthly fee for their service.

That's my take on almost the entire industry of "make money doing X, just use my service or take my course!" Bro, the real money is conning these suckers.

A fool and his money will soon part ways.

I tend to agree, but I'm not sure that the buyers are suckers. Technically the people who sell pickaxes to gold miners are in way better shape than the gold mine owners. But we can't have 100% pickaxe salesman, someone actually has to mine the gold.

Lots of companies do keep their arbitrage tools secret.

There is a much greater efficiency in operating a SaaS over a full-fledged business, since the SaaS has almost 0 marginal costs, so every additional $39/mo requires nearly no work.

In contrast, generating $39 in profits through arbitrage requires at least some work and has risk. If you buy a product and sell it to a person who gets a refund, then you lost money.

Absolutely agree. You might make a couple bucks here and there, but the Flipmine guy is guaranteed $39/month from you. That's where the real action is.

I mean SaaS probably requires a lot less time... and scales a bit more than doing it as a business.

Exactly! So you should start a SaaS company and get the hell away from spending monthly fees to find your next time consuming manual sale.

The point is, not everyone can start a SaaS company (like, as in OP's example, you are a call center employee). Just because you can't create the same high-ROI software business does not mean that the software being sold is a scam/worthless.

The best way to make money in this way is by finding items that have been incorrectly listed (and thus undervalued) and listing them with better keywords, accurate information etc.

The tricky part is finding those listings in the first place because they will often be at the bottom of many searches due to poor relevance. Searching by "ending soonest" on eBay can bring up many hidden treasures.

You then need to have a good idea of the market rate of what you are selling and factor in a healthy margin: postage costs and handling time can add up quickly.

There used to be a browser extension that would search common misspellings of things on eBay to find undervalued items. “Kat Spade” instead of “Kate Spade”, for example. I built quite a collection of shoes and handbags with this method in college.

But I’m sure eBay’s search has gotten better at delivering misspelled listing in results over the past decade so perhaps it’s not as useful as I remember it being.

Flipmine is an incredible tool our mutual friend has built!

Fix bikes. There is presently a bike shortage, but probably a vast inventory almost-working bikes hanging in garages. Offer for a fee, a "no parts" bike tune-up, meaning you do what you can without access to spare parts, and quickly let them know if the bike is beyond your help.

A bit more adventuresome: Offer to buy klunkers and then use them as a parts supply for fixing the bikes that can be fixed, or combine parts to create working bikes that you can sell.

Many bikes are purchased with the best of intentions and then set aside for whatever reason. Later, the owner isn't sure what's needed, if anything, to get the bike in riding shape. They might even throw you a nominal fee just to be reassured that their bike is OK to ride.

Unless you're desperate for cash, the most effective way to raise your income level is to learn a new skill while updating your resume and networking in that field.

Position yourself for the post-pandemic economy. ie. tech.

Any recommendations for someone with a background in logic controls and light IT (industrial background)? What is actually worth investing your time in?

Just offhand, that sounds like a good start to being a datacenter tech. Learn how to handle all the power equipment, HVAC, racking and stacking, cabling, etc.

Data science and AI/Machine Learning.

Your background would help you get into the field.

iOT, networking, cisco certified anything (resume builder).

With daycares closed, there are a lot of people working from home and trying to watch their kids at the same time. You'd need to sort out with them (and any housemates) about what level of contact to have outside your (now expanded) bubble, but people need childcare badly.

Daycare may require state certification (just beware).

With so many kids homeschooled, tutoring the last couple of months was probably a gold mine. Many parents run into a hard wall with respect to math and science and can no longer help their kids.

Watching the kids of a single family is being a nanny, not a daycare, and at least in the US doesn't require a license or certification.

Watching their kids at their house is being a nanny. You only mentioned people need childcare. Having kids dropped off at your house requires at least registration in Texas, and if it's 4-6, requires certification.

That also comes with a huge amount of liability.

I would guess this varies by state. (IANAL.)

What state do you think does? High-regulation states like MA and CA don't, and it would very much surprise me if others did. (I'm also not a lawyer.)

Sorry, I was unclear. I was guessing that low-regulation states might allow watching the kids of more than one family.

Childcare is a great answer. We pay our baby sitter $120/day, and we treat her like royalty because she’s good it at and she actually has a great hourly rate for the area ($15/hr).

It’s working out really well for everyone involved. We may just keep her on even when daycare opens back up.

Wow that’s a lot of money, where I’m from I see the cost for full time nanny at like $450 per _month_ (plus meals).

My wife, who is out of work, is providing emergency childcare to some friends of ours for $20/hr. People are really desperate for this and I'm sure she could make more if she wasn't just doing it as a favor for our friends.

If you do something for a friend ... and take money, is it really fair to call it a favour?

If it’s below market rate; sure, why not?

Is $20/hour below the market rate in U.S.?

Here's a survey from urbansitter.com: https://blog.urbansitter.com/2019-babysitting-rates/

$20 seems to be above-market everywhere for one kid, and everywhere except SF and NY for two kids. But it wouldn't surprise me if there's finer-grained variation - sitters probably cost more in the richer parts of a metro area than in the poorer parts of the same metro area.

Most data on the market rate predates the pandemic. Right now there is basically no childcare available.

It feels above-market to me, but it probably depends on the number of kids and where you are. We're paying $17/hour for daytime child care for one two-year-old in the north Atlanta suburbs. We've historically paid evening "date night" babysitters $60 for 4-5 hours, so $12-15 an hour, but that's an easier job because the kid's asleep a big portion of the time.

I don’t know, but the US is a huge country with some very poor parts and some very rich parts. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was below market rate in Silicon Valley.

If it isn't their profession/field and they don't need the money either way. Yeah I would still consider it a favor.

I pay the people who house sit and watch my pets, I still consider it a favor in addition to paying them.

She was going to do it for free but they insisted on paying her.

I’m not sure how it’s compared with market rate but friends are usually more trustable or at least making people feel that way.

Seconding this. When our day care closed we originally sent our 2-year-old to her grandparents; when they couldn't take it any more (she can be a handful!) we brought her back. Since her teachers from day care were also out of work we called the one she gets along with best, and that's working splendidly. Unfortunately this costs more than day care, but we're spending less normally just because there aren't as many opportunities to spend money, so it's okay.

Licensing might be an issue, as some people have mentioned. More importantly, though, I wouldn't trust my kid to someone who doesn't have experience with kids. So this may or may not be an option for your friend.

Outschool does something similar and seems like it can make you some money.

I run an affiliate blog, and they're definitely easy to get up and running. However, they're not "only 1 or two hours a day" type things as they are often claimed. But they can be fun and rewarding. I usually make around $200 a month with about 500 page views a day.

would you mind expanding a bit on what you do and how did you start?

Sure, I run https://basicbands.com/. It's a website about watch strap fashion. Most of my income comes from Amazon. I don't make money off the sale of watchbands very much, they're very cheap, so I write posts about watches. This is an example of a money post: https://basicbands.com/the-complete-guide-to-the-seiko-presa...

I either write the content myself, or ask watch strap companies to send me pictures. I then link back to their website and mention what watch is featured and use an affiliate link. Most companies are happy to send me pictures. I also interview custom leather watch strap makers. Most sell on Etsy and they're happy to be featured. I send them a form to fill out and they provide the content and pictures. This is an example: https://basicbands.com/small-brand-spotlight-choice-cuts-ind...

I make almost zero money off featuring the watch strap makers, but they fill out the blog with interesting and fun content that bring it a step above the usual affiliate blog (I hope). Its also the most fun part and it keeps me going, because the artists are fun to talk with. Otherwise I think I would have stopped by now from boredom. Most of my traffic is search engine, Pinterest & Reddit.

I got my start by reading the case studies on this subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/juststart/ They're getting less useful now, but the early ones were a big help. Basically, just start something and see how it does.

Affiliate marketing gets a bad rap, which I totally understand, but its also very easy to get into, basically a WordPress theme and some cheap hosting, so its very accessible for people at home.

Thanks for the description, it's very insightful, especially since I enjoy similar affiliate marketing sites such as https://dappered.com/ and https://www.primermagazine.com/.

I will say that their frequent listicles, however, tends to feel exploitative... Primer currently has "8 Essential Innovations That Make Hot Summers More Bearable" as its headline, which feels like a not-so-subtle "hey, here's some affiliate links to click on"

That's exactly what it felt like to me too. It's why I enjoy featuring the custom watch strap shops, they provide a break from the affiliate angle. I also try to make my guides a bit longer than usual and also more in-depth with model numbers, etc.

If you are in the suburbs, there are always lawns to cut.

Make a simple sign outside your home.

"Most lawns $25. Cut, trim, edge blow. 555-555-5555 No contact payment by eTransfer"

This works very well, and will generate a small side income, get you outside of the house, fresh air and exercise.

From here, it's just letting you imagination run wild... Hire and train some young adults, grow from a single person to multi person team, etc.

I'd give someone $30 to cut my tiny lawn right now.

If you can buy and sell bikes over the next few months I think you'll make some extra money. Right now they are becoming really hard to get with orders taking 2 - 3 months where I'm based.

I find this to be bizarre since bikes don't really go bad or wear out, from over the last 40 years there should be thousands of surplus bikes on the market.

Yes I think it may only be new bike that are harder to get right now. The second hand market may be better.

I had my bike stolen recently so this hits me hard.

Dang sorry to hear that. It's rampant in some places, where I live it's not uncommon to see thiefs brazenly using an angle grinder, in the middle of the day in a crowded place, to remove bike locks.

Any idea why this is?

I think demand is up as people are planning to travel by bike rather than public transport.

Depending what he was doing in call center and if he wants to keep his current job or is open to find a new job, he might be able to find a job for a company that hire people remotely. He can even look for this kind of job internationally. Some industries have been hit quite hard, but some others have seen increase of activity (i'm thinking in the saas world, mainly tools that are being use for remote working, but i'm sure there's other industries as well)

If you're a North American native English speaker with a college degree you can pretty easily get certified to teach English online to Chinese children with VipKid

And preply

If you have even a little experience with Linux or are looking to learn, we've built https://hostlaunch.io/ to make it very easy to start a managed cloud hosting company.

Just drop in your DigitalOcean, ServerPilot, SendGrid, and Stripe API keys, set your prices, and you've got a hosting company.

Honest question: why would anyone want to buy from a reseller rather than DO directly? Are DO’s tools so bad?

The same reason resellers exist in pretty much all industries: The buyer doesn't actually care who they purchase from. When you're a reseller, in many ways your true customer is the vendor you are reselling, who are simply purchasing the service of customer acquisition.

There's a huge market of people who want to purchase managed hosting, not be responsible for their own servers. Think of the customers (such as WordPress developers) of any traditional hosting company like DreamHost.

The purpose of HostLaunch is to make it extremely easy to start your own managed hosting business to sell web hosting services in that same market.

I don’t get it. What’s your edge? You basically have no control over anything. Why would the customer go with jsamuel hosting rather than ornornor hosting if we’re Both reselling exactly the same thing? Or why not stay with dreamhost for that matter? What’s the reseller’s edge in that case? Anything goes wrong you have to wait on DO to sort it out. And price wise you can’t do anything that anyone else can’t get from DO too. I’m probably missing the point but I’d really like to understand.

Managed hosting is much more than what DO does, I suppose. They offer services like setting up a Wordpress, emails, nameservers, etc. for people who don't want or don't know how to. You sell customer service basically, you talk to people on the phone, usually works better within your local community.

Edit: and I suppose HostLaunch's edge is to get all the hassle of setting up that business out of the way so you can focus on customer service instead of plumbing servers together.

This is perfect for freelancers. When someone commissioned them to build a wordpress site, they can offer them to host the site on that platform. No need to spend time to build their own hosting infra each of their clients. It's also pretty cheap as you can cram three or more Wordpress site into a single $5 vps on DO.

Another use case is people in 3rd world country sometimes need international hosting but don't have any local payment method accepted by international companies (they only accept visa/mastercard/amex, not small regional card/bank network). You can tap that market by offering local payment processor support, essentially become a middle man for those vps companies. This service doesn't support this kind of use case, but other web hosting kits are very popular in 3rd world countries for this reason.

In addition to other answers offered here it can be a good addition to an existing business. For example if you do some IT consulting with local companies you can offer them hosting as well without building out your own hosting infrastructure.

In markets such as hosting where differentiation is largely about quality of support, brand, and marketing, there are many different reasons why customers choose their hosting company. Some people will stay with their existing host. Many others, both existing and new customers entering the market, will seek out new solutions or be attracted to a different company for varied reasons (poor support experience with existing provider, recommendation of a friend, strong marketing attracted them, identified more closely with the brand values, etc.).

I'm not sure but it may be you're looking for an explanation of why consumers choose one product over others when the consumer doesn't have the full knowledge or information to make an ideal decision (regardless of whether they often believe they do). Brand and marketing have a huge impact in those cases, tied in with the values of the customer base driving who they trust and want to do business with.

Not OP but perhaps I can answer a different way. They are outsourcing the marketing. I can set up my own hosting company, do my advertising and to get clients and I don't have to worry about the technical stuff.

DigitalOcean is not a managed hosting provider. People who run applications on DigitalOcean need to have some understanding of the administrative principles involved in running cloud servers (Linux, web services, et cetera).

Maybe become a Guided Project instructor at Coursera and share your expertise with learners? I'm sharing some details from a previous post:

Access an instructor community and support team that will give you all the tools and resources needed to create a high-quality project. Earn income remotely on a per-project basis as soon as your project is reviewed and approved. Impact lives of learners around the world by sharing skills they can apply immediately to their careers.

What is a Guided Project? Guided Projects on Coursera are interactive projects that enable learners to gain a job-relevant skill in under two hours. A side-by-side interface allows learners to watch visual instructions on one side of the screen while following-along on the other side of the screen. Guided Projects are for anyone who is looking to get hands-on learning and get practice applying a skill or using a tool in a real-world scenario. Every Guided Project includes everything learners need directly in their browser and step-by-step visual instructions so they can get started without any software installation or prior experience.

Guided Projects are focused on enabling learners to practice and apply skills in computer science, data science, and business software using a broad variety of real-world tools such as TensorFlow, Google Spreadsheets, Tableau, Canva, etc.

If you’re excited to create hands-on, Guided Projects and want to become a project instructor on Coursera, please apply at https://teach.coursera.org/

Can you actually make a decent income?

Check out sites like Lionbridge or whatever, where you can do online tasks (registering maps, transcribing stuff, etc.) - they do pay a legit salary, even though the work can be really boring.

It's basically like a bit more exciting and better paying version of Mechanical Turk.

Other than that...help out HS and College kids with homework? I'm on a lot of homework help forums, as I like teaching math, and there's been an explosion in demand for skype teachers etc.

Depending on his state, he could apply for a job as a Contact Tracer. These are essentially WFH contact center roles.

Has your friend applied for unemployment? He should be eligible...

I made a gdoc with a list of work from home opportunities back in April. Hope this helps!



Cant beat online "tutoring". Schoolsolver.com, chegg.com, etc. These sites are booming right now.

Good ole fashion yard work. Despite the unemployment rate, many people are still working and spring is here. Grass is growing, mulch needs spread, etc.

My parents just paid a kid $250 to lay mulch for a day. Found him on Nextdoor.

He doesn't even have to bring the mulch - homeowner purchases it and has it delivered, and he just shows up to lay it.

I guess he does this a few times a week - that's a cool thousand bucks on a good week.

Probably anything involving "I'll plant your tomato/vegetable garden for you" would do very well right now in the right places.

content generation. you have no idea how many marketing companies need content writers for their clients. typically you can make between $5-$25 an article with an article being 300-2000. most articles don't have to be great, they just want articles written for a specific keyword.

I started a little economics experiment on Fiverr a few months ago (to try to figure out how much the market is willing to pay for a native English speaker with technical knowledge) and I've had a surprising amount of success at the $0.05/word pricepoint. When you charge a little more, the worst of the worst buyers are scared away by the price.

What keywords should I search for on Fiverr to see examples/how this service is marketed?

Do you have a company name?

just look for any SEO company online or in your area and either call or email them. btw, thehoth is hiring


I don’t need this myself, but know someone who does. Do you have any pointers to companies or how to get started?


If he or she has good sewing skills, making masks and selling them on Etsy.

Like 10000000000 other people there.

What country, what skills, how desparate

Call center for what kind of company? Can he reach out to similar (possibly local) companies and offer to do similar work for them?

Years ago, when my first job folded, I did customer support for them for a couple months on a fixed rate with a minimum time. e.g., $75/hour, minimum bill of 0.2 hours -- those are examples, I don't recall what I actually charged.

The point is, he's used to talking to customer all day and negotiating issues and frustrations. That is really valuable experience to a small company that may not be able to afford a full-time customer support person.

Besides that, being a Virtual Assistant might be a good transition for him: https://horkeyhandbook.com/how-to-become-a-virtual-assistant...

Amazon's Mechanical Turk market place (https://worker.mturk.com). Also google around for the forum and find insight and tools to help snipe higher value tasks.

I'd recommend joining the local tech Slack channel(s) for your city or state. I've seen several decent job openings and gigs where I live. The nice thing is, you can chat with the poster if needed and get an idea of what the work entails before you apply.

I'm not searching anymore because I believe that tech has lost its way and won't be a rewarding field until it allows for ~20 hour per week part time jobs that let us make on our own time. Because I've been surviving in tech for 20 years and have basically gotten nowhere with my life goals. Always feast or famine. But I do know how to survive.

This is a recent curated list of online jobs, 'Modern Day Jobs':


Domino's Pizza is overloaded. They need cooks, drivers, etc. Probably the best money you can get now without an investment in learning something.

Go to suburban neighborhood. Offer to clean the garbage roll out barrels.

Tether yourself and go up on customer's roof and blow off the leaves and debris.

Weed the flower beds. Wash windows. Detail cars. Play with kids outdoors. Clean and polish the brass fixture exterior lights.

Use customer mower to cut the lawn.

My friend does Concierge errand services and he makes $50 a day.

Teach english, cambly

This is probably excellent, and undervalued, advice.

I wonder what fraction of potential English learners can afford $20+ per hour... (Right now that won't beat the unemployment payout here in the States, BTW.)

Your friend should check with the state to see if they are eligible for unemployment, food, or any other benefits as soon as possible; regardless of what their employers says.

For more information, Google: [corona laid off benefits]

I’ve been working on a project to allow anyone to get paid for their time. It requires they have some knowledge that someone else is willing to pay for but it might help. Free for hosts. BuyTime.co

Hope your friend finds success!

Pretty wide open question. I recommend that whatever creative leanings your friend has, to focus on them. Do what you love and produce something of value, then try to sell it.

And make sure you do try to sell it. https://theoatmeal.com/comics/creativity_business

Thanks, I just discovered a wonderful cartoonist. A joy to read those illustrated thoughts full of creativity and humor.

Particularly like his honesty, exposing his vulnerabilities in a way we can only laugh, and reflect on it ourselves.

Whether you're an artist, an entrepreneur or aspire to improve yourself, you certainly can relate to his work and self-reflections.

It seems that a lot of people are starting OnlyFans accounts...

that's interesting right, so much free stuff what compels you to pay, idk. there's that psychology too of being "closer" knowing someone eg. watching twitch or whatever... oh well glad I did not get sucked into that, though I'm not a social success myself

Swabber assistant if your country or county is opening to it.

I'm pretty sure (from people I know that this happened to) you can apply for unemployment even if you're furloughed and "still employed".


some options for your friend:

1)if he has hardcore skills like programming, or any techy-related, try upwork.com and find a niche for himself, but a new comer will have a difficult time to get sales first, you need start with a very low price rate, get some orders then raise your hourly rate. 2)he can also choose Fiverr.com, one can provide many services there, typically $5 per case, small cash. 3)start a youtube channel: post videos that he is good at and can attract enough visitors. This is pretty much a long term endeavor as you need 4000 hours watch and 1K subscribers to get monetization enabled, but if he can find the right niche and get the hang of it, this thing is legit and can earn enough for living.

seems there are no very quick ways to make some money, but he could still try:

4) provide some quick local services for quick money 5) regard 3), he can post CPA offers under the subscription section below the Youtube video, you can earn money at very 1st day via doing CPA affiliate marketing, just post right videos, attract visitors, put offers.

Good luck

I tried upwork 4 different times with no luck. It doesn't matter how low I offered my job for or how many offers I sent. It's almost impossible to get started there as a developer.

You are right somehow, there are highly severely competitions as this is the best known freelancing platform in the world, but totally worth it, just gradually build your portfolio, you will get sales sooner or later.

There are a lot people make good money on the platform for side cash.

Meanwhile, you can browser producthut, indiehackers, for some quick ideas for your own products, SaaS, websites, etc.

This thread is so important. At times of crisis like this we need to know about demand. Demand is king. All of the sudden we have resources like knowledge, materials and even money, but not much clarity about how to employ them for the greater good.

In my head, still in a very abstract way, we need something like LinkedIN exposing demand and not only job openings.

Not applicable to most people, but: Breeding Fish.

Especially with the air travel situation what it is right now, fish stores have trouble restocking. So, if you already have some equipment but the market was always too lousy, you might be able to pick up a few bucks. Hard to scale up to a significant income, though.

You can do Virtual Visits at Papa.


Help out senior adults through the aging journey.

If he is a call center operator, I don't get why he can't work from home. If his current employer can't allow this, maybe he can find a more technically competent company?

Now that kids can't go to school because of lockdown, the demand for online teaching is proliferating. You can start coaching students online or just kids in your neighborhood.

I don’t know of anything that is instant in generating income.

I remember flexjobs.com having a pretty diverse curated catalog of jobs you can do from home.

Not the typical remote engineer postings we see around here.

Perhaps not for call centers, but for recently laid off engineers you could do mock interviews on sites like PracticeCodingInterview.com, Gainlo.co, and interview.io.

It all depends on his health condition, abilities, equipment owned, and place of residence. These are required to produce an actionable suggestion.


this is the only thing that i saw working during this pandemic, too bad it is a niche for a specific gender

Learn programming while doing something like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc. delivery in the mean time. Then start applying for roles.

Unless you really need the money, your best investment is putting 100% of your time into learning new skills.

That can't be true. If you spent all of your time developing new skills you wouldn't have any time to capitalize on them. You are likely better off conquering a niche.

I mean temporarily during this lockdown - not indefinitely.

This but keep in mind that "selling our skills" is also a skill of its own.

This wont generate income now. It's super hard to invest your time on learning things when your budget is tied and your job perspective is "vague".

"Learn to program"

People are still repeating this meme?

But seriously while Uber and other companies are laying off thousands it's probably one of the worst times to try to enter the market as a new SWE.

No, it's not.One won't enter the market today,as it'd take 6-12 month to get to the point where you know the basics. Such a person wouldn't be competing with those from Uber,as the level of seniority is completely different. 100% junior dev jobs may be hard to come across over the upcoming months, however there are tons of jobs out there that would absolutely benefit from having someone who can write even basic scripts.

What do you think the market is right now for totally green engineers?

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact